Whether you prefer quaffing champagne over the glittering Lake Zurich or dancing in to the early hours at the city’s mammoth street party, the ‘Silvester Zauber’, or ‘New Year’s Magic’, is the biggest event on the Zurich calendar.
Some 200,000 revelers gather in central Zurich for Switzerland’s most famous festival, held on the city streets since 1988. The free festival is held around Lake Zurich, stretching along Limmat Quay and Bellevue, with live music, DJs and makeshift stalls serving up cups of Gluhwein (spiced mulled wine) and bratwurst sausages, alongside an array of other traditional foods and drinks. Bars and clubs in the area kick off the evening with special New Year’s dinner menus, before erupting into dance parties after 11pm and opening up their terraces for party-goers to watch the main spectacle – a dazzling firework display lighting up the lake.
As the church bells chime in the New Year, the city is plunged into darkness before exploding in color, as the award-winning fireworks are set off from boats moored on the lake. The 20-minute extravaganza is organized by the Zurich Hoteliers’ Association and watched from all over the city.
Zurich’s New Year Festival starts at 8pm and runs until 3am on New Year’s Day, but don’t worry about getting home – public transport runs until 4am, leaving plenty of time to crawl into bed and sleep off those extra glasses of champagne.